Aquatic Export Plummets Amid 4th Covid-19 Outbreak

Aquatic production and export plummeted in July as Ho Chi Minh City and 19 provinces in southern Vietnam entered lockdown.
August 02, 2021 | 21:36
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According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), Vietnam’s aquatic product export in July reached roughly US$ 763 million, a decrease of 4% compared to the same period of the previous year. Specifically, the export of shark catfish and tuna reduced by 5% to reach US$ 117 million and US$ 60.5 million respectively. Similarly, the export of squid and octopus decreased 9% compared to the same period in 2020. Except for Bivalvia export which observed an increase of 6% and reached US$ 10.6, export of other aquatic products reduced 2 – 4%.

Aquatic Export Plummets Amid 4th Covid-19 Outbreak
Catching tuna in Nha Trang. Photo: VnExpress

The fourth Covid-19 outbreak in major aquatic production, processing and export areas was the culprit of the sharp reduction in aquatic exports. In particular, the government’s stringent social distancing and Covid prevention orders, such as the 3-in-one-spot regulation (producing, eating and sleeping at the factory) or local Covid measures caused production to stagnate.

It is calculated that only 30% of the aquatic businesses in southern Vietnam could meet the conditions set by the 3-in-one-spot regulation. For those that met the requirements, only 30-50% of the workers could be mobilized; others had to quit jobs or stay at home without salary. The average production capacity was reduced by 40-50%. It is estimated that the region’s production capacity would be decreased to just 30-40%.

Aquatic Export Plummets Amid 4th Covid-19 Outbreak
3-in-one-spot regulation, a strategy to address Covid risks in industrial parks. Photo: VASEP

Meanwhile, aquatic product supply for processing and export reached roughly 40-50% compared to external resources due to social distancing.

An estimation by VASEP shows that the aquatic product export industry may face a supply shortage of about 20 – 30% by the end of the year. In addition, aquatic businesses have been facing additional costs such as extra salary, weekly Covid testing and facilities to meet the 3-in-one-spot regulation. The cost burden is intensified as input and logistic costs rocket due to Covid.

Aquatic Export Plummets Amid 4th Covid-19 Outbreak
An aquatic production chain in southern Vietnam. Photo: Vietnam News Agency

Aquatic export may continue to plummet without external support for production recovery. As such, VASEP requests the government to prioritize giving vaccines to aquatic processing factory laborers to ensure safe production. In addition, VASEP recommends the government provide assistance to businesses and laborers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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